You Won’t Get the Right Answer Until You Ask the Right Question!

  • During the sales training sessions I conduct it always seems that new and experienced sales people struggle with uncovering prospect needs. Too many times I’ve had to stop a practice session when one of the participants asks “so tell me about your business?” or “what are your main advertising needs?”


    To find out what the prospect needs are, and I mean their real needs, and the real opportunities requires strong questioning skills and a set of questions designed to uncover them.


    In a recent article that I wrote called  "The Secrets to Surviving Your First Year in Radio Sales", David Hefter, the National Sales Director at the Australian Radio Network had this to say:  “….it’s more about identifying the unseen “opportunity”.  Clients are more sophisticated, they know what their problems are and often already have the solution if its marketing related…”


    So how can we uncover what David calls the unseen opportunity?


    In reality it’s all about the right question, delivered at the right time and in the right part of the meeting. Questions like these:

    -       Can you give me an example of some of your current business (or marketing) challenges?

    -       Which one is the biggest? Are there any others?

    -       Do you know what’s causing it?

    -       If nothing is done, what are the possible ramifications?

    -       Why do customers buy from you?

    -       What do your customers expect from your company?

    -       How have your customers’ expectations changed over the last 5 years?

    -       What steps do you take to ensure your customers’ needs are met (or exceeded)?

    -       Do you measure customer satisfaction? How? What are the results showing?

    -       How is your customer service compared to your major competitor? What do they do differently?


    In professional selling asking quality questions and really listening to the answers are two of the most important skills you need to master. The reality is that effective selling requires very little selling but lots of listening and asking good questions.


    Maybe you might want to add some of these questions to your sales “kit”? After all they sure beat “so tell me more about your business”!!